How to Fix Table of Contents in Word: A Step-by-Step Guide

Fixing the table of contents in Word is a task that might seem daunting, but it’s quite simple once you know the steps. You can update, modify, or recreate your table of contents to ensure it aligns perfectly with your document’s headings. With just a few clicks, you can make sure your table of contents is accurate and easy to navigate.

Fix Table of Contents in Word

You’re about to discover how to update and fix your table of contents in Word. By following these steps, you’ll ensure your document is well-organized and professional.

Step 1: Open Your Document

Open the Word document that contains the table of contents you want to fix.

Make sure you have the document ready and visible on your screen. This is important because you’ll need to see the headings and the table of contents simultaneously.

Step 2: Click on the Table of Contents

Click anywhere inside the table of contents to select it.

When you click inside the table of contents, you should see it become highlighted. This indicates that it’s ready to be edited.

Step 3: Update the Table

Right-click on the table of contents and select "Update Field."

A small box will appear asking if you want to update the page numbers only or the entire table.

Step 4: Choose Your Update Option

Select "Update entire table" and click OK.

Choosing this option ensures that any new headings or changes to existing headings are included in the table of contents.

Step 5: Check for Errors

Review the updated table of contents for any errors or omissions.

Make sure all headings are correctly listed, and the page numbers are accurate. If something is missing or incorrect, you might need to check your document’s headings.

After you complete these steps, your table of contents will be updated with the latest information from your document. This ensures that anyone reading your document can easily find the sections they need.

Tips for Fixing Table of Contents in Word

Here are some additional tips to help you manage your table of contents:

  • Use Word’s built-in heading styles. They are designed to work seamlessly with the table of contents feature.
  • Keep your headings consistent. This makes it easier for Word to organize your table of contents correctly.
  • Regularly update your table of contents, especially if you make significant changes to your document.
  • Customize the table of contents to fit your needs. Word allows you to change the style and appearance of your table of contents.
  • Save your document frequently. This ensures you don’t lose any changes you’ve made to your table of contents or the document itself.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I update my table of contents if I’ve made changes to my document?

Right-click on the table of contents, select "Update Field," and then choose "Update entire table."

Can I customize the appearance of my table of contents?

Yes, you can. You can change the style, font, and even the layout by going to the "References" tab and selecting "Table of Contents."

Why is my table of contents not updating correctly?

Ensure that all your headings are using the correct styles (Heading 1, Heading 2, etc.) and that they are applied consistently throughout your document.

Can I create a table of contents from scratch?

Yes, you can. Go to the "References" tab, click "Table of Contents," and choose a style. Word will automatically generate a table based on your headings.

What if I only want to update the page numbers?

When updating the table of contents, select "Update page numbers only." This is useful if the content hasn’t changed, but the page numbers have.


  1. Open your document.
  2. Click on the table of contents.
  3. Right-click and select "Update Field."
  4. Choose "Update entire table."
  5. Review for errors.


Fixing the table of contents in Word doesn’t have to be a headache. By following the steps outlined above, you can ensure that your document remains organized and professional. Regularly updating your table of contents, using consistent headings, and taking advantage of Word’s built-in features will save you time and effort. If you encounter any issues, refer to the tips and FAQs provided to troubleshoot common problems. Remember, a well-structured document with a clear table of contents enhances readability and makes it easier for your audience to navigate. So, take the time to fix your table of contents, and you’ll be glad you did!